Climate refugees in Australia 'inevitable' as world heats up in next 500 years and polar cities are built in Tasmania, New Zealand
Dec 11, 2009
Former government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut says it is inevitable that South Pacific countries will end up having their populations relocated to Australia or New Zealand.
Professor Garnaut says the future of the Pacific islands is only a small part of the world's climate change problem.
Several small Pacific nations are pushing the delegates at the Copenhagen climate talks to sign up to a tougher international agreement than the Kyoto protocol.
But Professor Garnaut says the future of the Pacific islands is only a small part of the world's climate change problem.
He says the islands' residents will end up being relocated to Australia or New Zealand.
"The rest of the world expects that and, in the end, we're likely to accommodate that, so there's a solution there," he said.
"Much more worrying is low-lying populations in the some of the large and densely populated parts of the world, especially the great river valleys of Asia."
He also says it would help the international talks if China made a binding commitment to cut emissions.
The United States says China must make such an agreement if a global deal is to be effective.
Professor Garnaut says China has set ambitious domestic targets to cut emissions, but agrees that it should sign on to an international agreement.
"I think it's likely that China will exceed its domestic targets, the question is not whether they'll get there," he said.
"But the difference it would make to the atmosphere of the international discussions if it bound itself to get there and it would be especially helpful in the United States discussion."
The world's biggest developing countries are calling for developed countries to cut their emissions by 40 per cent.
Negotiators from China, India, South Africa and Brazil reportedly met in Beijing late last month to produce a document that calls for a limit on temperatures rises of two degrees Celsius.
They have called on the major developed countries to slash their emissions over the next 11 years through domestic measures rather than buying so-called offsets in other countries.